Feature | Football

Christiane Endler on Chile, Marta, and her breakthrough performance against USWNT at the FIFA 2019 Women's World Cup

The top 4 takeaways from the talented Chilean goalkeeper who joined the Olympic Channel Podcast for a wide-ranging exclusive interview ahead of her crucial Tokyo Olympic qualifier.

By Ed Knowles ·

Chile and Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Christiane Endler is one of football’s top global talents.

A breakthrough performance at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup against the USA put her firmly on the map.

Chile lost that game 3-0 but it would have been much more were it not for a series of incredible saves.

US goalkeeping legend Hope Solo called her performance ‘spectacular’.

Endler joined the Olympic Channel Podcast to talk about that game, growing up in Chile, the big Olympic qualifier, and the inspiration she takes from Brazilian football superstar Marta.

Here are the key takeaways from that exclusive interview.

Christiane Endler: The breakthrough game against USWNT

The famous game against the USA took place in Paris, France.

As a goalkeeper for Paris St Germain, Endler is well-acquainted with the environment.

PSG have been battling French rivals Lyon for domestic honours in 2021 at the top of Ligue 1 Feminine, and face the European champions again in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women's Champions League at the end of March.

But coming into the World Cup in 2019 she was relatively unknown on the global stage.

But nothing really could prepare Endler for how different life would be afterwards.

“That game was maybe a huge change in my career… not because I did something different but [I] probably became more known for everyone after that," she told Olympic Channel.

“We lost that game 3-0 anyway, but at least I know that I gave everything.”

Christiane Endler: Growing up in Chile

If Chile do manage to win in their long-delayed Olympic qualifier against Cameroon, now scheduled for 10th & 13th April, and book a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021, it will be the first time the women’s team has made it to the Olympic tournament.

The women's game is still growing in Chile and Endler’s consistency and leadership have made people take a greater interest domestically.

Endler in action against the USA at the 2019 World Cup

There remains a lot of work to do at a grassroots level in order to compete with the European powers and USA.

“I didn't start [until I was] 16 years old to play in a club. I couldn't play anyway because there were no clubs at that time.

“For me, the most important thing is to develop the [the game] from the beginning - when you are eight, nine years old [with] stronger standards and quality of teachers [in] a good environment.”

Christiane Endler: The big playoff game

FIFA postponed the qualifying game between Cameroon and Chile due to Covid-19 restrictions, with the new dates of 10th & 13th April being two months later than originally planned.

It’s made an already difficult process even tougher for the participants.

For Endler, qualification for the Olympics is one of the hardest tasks in women’s football.

“Compared to the World Cup, only 12 teams qualify for the Olympics [so] this [is a] massive qualifier against a very strong team from Africa.”

Endler beat Alex Morgan of USA to the ball in 2018

Christiane Endler: On Brazil legend Marta

She may not be a goalkeeper, but Brazil striker Marta is still a big influence on Endler.

“Coming from South America is not easy. We are very behind in this kind of things in women's football,” she shares.

Marta is widely regarded to be the greatest women’s footballer of all-time. She has scored more World Cup goals than anyone else.

Marta: every Olympic goal

Watch every goal scored by Brazilian star Marta at the Olympics from Athens...

Despite her individual dominance, Brazil have never managed to win an Olympic gold medal.

Marta has two silvers from 2004 and 2008.

In Endler’s eyes, she remains an icon.

“She's an example for all the players, I think, and in her fight for equality, equal pay and everything. She's making a path for everyone. And I think we should follow.”